A JEALOUS drug addict used a blade to slash at the love rival he believed had been having sex with his girlfriend - before spitting on the police officer who arrested him during the pandemic.

Ben Wood was jailed at Worcester Crown Court on Thursday after he slashed at a Bradley Rice with a tree pruning saw in Elgar Avenue, Malvern.

Mr Rice was also armed with a crowbar when the two men squared up to each other, captured on a shop's CCTV system on April 18 this year which was played in court. Wood spat on the police constable during the Covid-19 pandemic and threatened to spit on other officers.

The 29-year-old defendant of Orford Way, Malvern had already admitted threatening Mr Rice with the blade and assaulting an emergency worker when he appeared before Judge Nicolas Cartwright for sentence.

Timothy Sapwell, prosecuting, said: "He confronted Bradley Rice and accused him of sleeping with his girlfriend and had come prepared for a fight. He produced a locking pruning saw and Mr Rice appears to have anticipated a confrontation and armed himself with a crowbar.

"The defendant launched at Bradley Rice with the open pruning saw in a slashing motion that is captured on CCTV."

Police were called and the defendant was arrested. Wood was verbally abusive and officers placed him in handcuffs, taking him to the waiting police van. When a police constable closed the door Wood spat on his arm.

"The defendant continued to be aggressive en route to the police station. He said 'the first officer to open the door will get it in the face'. From that I invite the court to conclude that the spitting, contrary to what the defendant said, was a deliberate act" said Mr Sapwell.

In interview he denied any weapon was involved in the incident and claimed that the confrontation had been verbal. When shown the CCTV he told officer he was 'armed with a stick'. However, witnesses had described seeing him with a bladed weapon with a plastic handle and the weapon was recovered from his home address.

"He said he kept it for protection under a seat in case he was attacked by his partner" said Mr Sapwell.

Wood has 39 convictions for 69 offences 'mainly for theft' but also for battery and purchase of an air weapon while underage in 2008. He has further convictions for battery in 2015 and affray in 2015.

He was also dealt with for possession of a knife in a public place on October 16, 2020 when he was jailed for three weeks. This conviction invokes the mandatory six month term of imprisonment for further, similar offences.

Andrew Davidson, defending, described his client as a young man 'in social no-man's land' who had been homeless and sofa surfing from a very young age when he was living on the street.

He said Wood had become a class A drug user and had been in a 'hopeless state' until he engaged with registered charity Maggs which had become part of his support structure. Wood now has accommodation in Malvern and has managed to get off class A drugs and stick to a methadone script said Mr Davidson.

Judge Nicolas Cartwright said of the blade offence: "Clearly this was an incredibly dangerous situation."

He said 'everyone was well aware of just how dangerous knives are and how dangerous it was to take them out into a public place' because they could be used to cause serious injury or death, particularly to young men.

Of the attack on the officer he said: "It's particularly serious when an assault takes the form of spitting because it's designed to be disgusting and humiliating for the person receiving it and also carries the risk of infection. You chose to do it during the Coronavirus pandemic."

Jailing him for 18 months, Judge Cartwright told Wood magistrates had dealt with him 'leniently' by sentencing him to only three weeks for the previous knife offence.